The Strategist

Experts: Economic losses from stress at work are rising

06/16/2021 - 03:46

Workplace stress costs the global economy more than $8 trillion annually, Gallup analysts have calculated.

Stress, anxiety, anger, sadness and other negative emotions of workers in 2020 reached a record level and costs the global economy of $ 8.1 trillion a year, according to a study of the State of the Global Workplace, prepared by Gallup. 

The company's analysts found that every seven in 10 employees are experiencing difficulties or suffering in the workplace, and 80% are not actively involved in the work process. As a result, they estimate that labour productivity is falling and the global economy is not contributing nearly 10% of GDP annually.

According to Gallup, the level of negative emotions among working people has been increasing over the last decade. But in the year of the pandemic, employee engagement fell by 2 percentage points globally - to 20% - and an increasing number of workers complained of growing anxiety and stress. 

The study notes that 45% of workers felt significant effects of the pandemic: one in two reported a drop in income, 53% were forced to suspend work and 32% lost their job or business. As a result, 43% were stressed almost daily at work, 41% were anxious, 24% and 25% were angry and sad respectively.

Workers in the US and Canada had the highest levels of stress last year, up 8 percentage points over the year to 57%. In those countries, 62% of female workers reported daily stress (the figure was lower for men, at 52%). At the same time, employee engagement in the US and Canada increased by 2 percentage points last year, to 34%. 

The Gallup report calls employee mental health critical. After all, "in addition to destroying lives, suffering can destroy the human spirit that drives innovation and economic energy," the analysts point out. But employers, they argue, "can learn lessons from 2020." The first step is to "create an inspiring workplace culture that maximizes the potential and well-being of every employee," the report says.


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